Christophe is a branch manager at Sophia Antipolis, in addition to being AVISTO PACA Regional Manager.
He is a software engineer who had a steady career progression since joining AViSTO in 2005.
He talks about his career, his job and presents the perspectives of the Sophia Antipolis branch.
Become Branch Manager
Q: Can you introduce us to the path that allowed you to become a branch manager?
I knew early on that I wanted to become an engineer in the computer or electronics fields. In the final year of high school, I presented competitions allowing me to integrate a post-bac engineering school. I chose the ISEN (Higher Institute of Electronics and Digital) in Toulon, which offered both courses.
Q: In the end, what made you look at computer science rather than electronics?
During my training, I was particularly attracted by the courses in software and network, quite simply.
Q: When you left ISEN, you became a Software Development Engineer …
That’s it, in a small IT services company specializing in network software. I worked on several projects in this field, with various technologies (databases, business intelligence, C ++ development, middleware). After three and a half years, the company was bought by a large consulting firm. I left it and joined AViSTO.
Q: And there, your professional career has accelerated…
I started doing several missions as a software developer. AViSTO was willing to develop its fixed price activities in Sophia Antipolis, so I was asked to participate in tender responses. We have won several and I have quite naturally been offered to manage these projects. The idea appealed to me, so I became project manager about 6 months after my arrival.
Q: And 2 years later, you were promoted to business manager. What attracted you to this new career development?
In general, I wanted to switch to the commercial side even more. And then, the challenge was exciting for me: it was a new job to discover, much more focused on human relationships than on the technical side.
The evolution took place gradually, since I was first responsible for “part-time” business manager, the time to finalize all the projects I was working on. And then I became a full-time business manager.
Q: Did not you miss the technical side?
No, because I remain close to projects, engineers and customers, which allows me to keep up to date on software technologies, for example. That’s something I’m very interested in, and for example, I see how the architectures used by our clients evolve.
Branch Manager Job Description
Q: You stayed about 5 years Business Manager, then you became Regional Manager, in charge of the Sophia Antipolis branch. Tell us about what is your current job as a branch manager.
In the continuity of my previous job, the Sophia Antipolis branch grew up and I had the opportunity to take the lead.
Branch manager, this consists of managing all aspects of its daily operation. This includes organizational and commercial themes, but also management because I lead a team of business managers.
Q: How do you manage all your activities?
To start, I surround myself with autonomous people to whom I delegate many things; we are in permanent interaction.
Then, I organize my days to dedicate time to my business activities as well as to follow up those of the business managers of my team – they take care of another part of the commercial perimeter.
Q: What is the most difficult aspect of your job as a branch manager?
Move forward while finding and maintaining the right balance. To do this, we must define and apply a strategy that allows the branch to continue to grow, while keeping the proximity and availability that make our employees feel at home and our customers are satisfied with our services.
Q : You’re the 11th person I’m interviewing in this series of testimonials about AViSTO’s jobs. Several Sophia Antipolis engineers have themselves told me good things about you. What does it take to be appreciated by your employees?
I would say respect people, listen to them, and try to be right in relationships. When someone is asked to make an effort, it must be done reciprocally.
Q: In which part or your job you find the most satisfaction and pleasure?
I like the idea of building a branch and a scope of activities that grow and flourish at the same time. As I said a little earlier, I make sure our engineers are happy to work with us, while maintaining an excellent level of customer satisfaction.
It’s a medium-long term strategy, sometimes with some contradictions to be solved, but that’s what makes the challenge all the more interesting.
AViSTO Company Review
Q: You’ve been at AViSTO for over 10 years. How do you explain it?
Firstly, I had the opportunity to evolve within AViSTO, to different functions. Secondly, I appreciate the freedom and autonomy we are given to define our strategy and carry it out. Finally, the values of the company are not only local, I find myself in the vision of the management of AViSTO.
Q: According to you, what are the values of AViSTO?
The long-term vision, based on trust and loyalty, from which the goal of controlled growth flows.
Balance in relationships with our engineers, our business managers and our customers.
Q: When you want to convince an engineer to join AViSTO, what do you tell him?
I explain to him that in the services industry, this is not necessarilly all about a balance of power and that the relationship between an employee and an employer can and must be healthy and balanced. That he will have his word to say on his evolution and on his daily tasks. This does not mean that he will only do what he likes, but we will listen to his wishes and we will do our best to respond to them positively.
I also tell him that we are a technical company: we understand what we sell to our customers and what we ask our engineers. So we are able to understand and respond to a number of situations, with a shared vision of the job.
AViSTO Sophia Antipolis
Q: In conclusion, what are the perspectives of the AViSTO Sophia Antipolis branch?
We have achieved several milestones in our development, reaching the pivotal size of 100 engineers. The challenge for us is to put everything in place from an organizational and managerial point of view to continue to grow within the framework we have set ourselves. This means continuing to position the Sophia branch well in our highly competitive market and make the right decisions every day.
Branch Manager Job Opportunities
AViSTO is recruiting! Visit our job board to discover our latest job opportunities. For a position of branch manager, do not hesitate to submit an unsolicited application.
Many thanks to Christophe for his testimony!